Gov. Murphy, legislative leaders agree on plan to borrow nearly $10B to address COVID financial crisis

New Jersey's legislative leaders and Gov. Phil Murphy have agreed on a plan that would allow the state to borrow up to roughly $10 billion to address the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The governor announced the agreement Friday afternoon.
“The answer is, we’re out of money,” Murphy said, adding that the maximum that can be borrowed is $9.9 billion.
The bill was passed by the state Assembly in early June, but was held up in the Senate until Murphy, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Senate President Steven Sweeney made a deal. The bill will be taken up next week and would create a commission made up of two members of the Senate and two from the Assembly that would have to approve all borrowing with a majority vote.
Murphy said that he is still holding on to hope that the federal government could send direct cash assistance to bridge a state budget cap that he estimates to be at $20 billion over 18 months.
“We need the ability to borrow. We need federal cash. We need potential revenue options. We need money,” Murphy said.
Republican lawmakers immediately announced they would sue to stop the plan. They've argued that repaying the bonds could lead to statewide property tax hikes.
Photos: Your COVID-19 Pandemic Experience

State business groups are also expressing concern.
In a statement, the New Jersey Business and Industry Association said, "A total of $9.9 billion in bonds with 35-year maturity will cost New Jersey taxpayers at least many hundreds of millions of dollars in additional debt service costs for the next 35 state budgets. New Jersey already is one of the most indebted states in the nation and this makes our state less affordable now and into the future."
Murphy also has not ruled out raising taxes as a way to generate the revenue needed to fund the budget.
“Listen, it’s too early to tell on taxes and revenue,” he said. “That just wasn’t the linchpin at the end of the day that got it done.”
The governor's office says no decision has been reached on exactly how much will be borrowed and what it could be used for. The bill under consideration only authorizes the borrowing and doesn't offer any specifics.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.